Mitochondrial DNA reveals multiple northern hemisphere introductions of Caprella mutica

Gail Ashton, Mark Stevens, Mark Hart, David Green, Michael Burrows, Elizabeth Cook, Kate J Willis

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Caprella mutica (Crustacea, Amphipoda) has been widely introduced to non-native regions in the last 40 years. Its native habitat is sub-boreal northeast Asia, but in the Northern Hemisphere, it is now found on both coasts of North America, and North Atlantic coastlines of Europe. Direct sequencing of mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene) was used to compare genetic variation in native and non-native populations of C. mutica. These data were used to investigate the invasion history of C. mutica and to test potential source populations in Japan. High diversity (31 haplotypes from 49 individuals), but no phylogeographical structure, was identified in four populations in the putative native range. In contrast, non-native populations showed reduced genetic diversity (7 haplotypes from 249 individuals) and informative phylogeographical structure. Grouping of C. mutica populations into native, east Pacific, and Atlantic groups explained the most among-region variation (59%). This indicates independent introduction pathways for C. mutica to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America. Two dominant haplotypes were identified in eastern and western Atlantic coastal populations, indicating several dispersal routes within the Atlantic. The analysis indicated that several introductions from multiple sources were likely to be responsible for the observed global distribution of C. mutica, but the pathways were least well defined among the Atlantic populations. The four sampled populations of C. mutica in Japan could not be identified as the direct source of the non-native populations examined in this study. The high diversity within the Japan populations indicates that the native range needs to be assessed at a far greater scale, both within and among populations, to accurately assess the source of the global spread of C. mutica.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbern/a
Pages (from-to)1293-1303
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Ecology
  • CRAB
  • Evolutionary Biology

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